Upfront: Great American pastime

By Steve Noe

During the spring, summer and early fall, I love getting out of the house to soak up some sun, break a sweat, and take my mind off my worries for a few hours while enjoying one of my favorite pastimes.

Based on my headline and subsequent lead, I bet you’re thinking that I’m referring to catching a baseball game. While you’ll be hard pressed to find a bigger baseball fan than me — and I certainly love the rare opportunity of going to a game versus watching one on TV — you would be incorrect.

No, I’m referring to something that I take great pride and pleasure in doing at least once a week, weather permitting: mowing my lawn and doing any additional work to make my yard look its finest. After the long and bitterly cold winters here in the Midwest and taking my mower to an outdoor power equipment dealership to be serviced, I always enjoy bringing my mower out of hibernation, starting it up, and cutting the grass for the very first time each spring. I continue to enjoy mowing my lawn each and every week, and I do my best to cut a pattern just like a striped field in a Major League Baseball stadium. And when I’m done mowing each time and take a few moments to admire my freshly cut and patterned lawn as I walk my mower back into the garage, I feel like I’ve just hit a walk-off home run.

I absolutely love mowing the lawn and doing yard work, and apparently, I’m not alone.

According to an online survey commissioned by the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) and conducted by Harris Poll in May 2015, Americans think it is important to have a yard, keep it looking well maintained, and live in an area with nice landscaping.

The study, conducted among 2,034 U.S. adults (ages 18 and older), found that 75 percent of Americans feel that it is important to spend time outside in their yards. Among the survey’s other findings regarding the sentiments of Americans:

* 91 percent think it is “important” to live in close proximity to trees, grass or nice landscaping, and 60 percent say that is “very important” to them.

* 84 percent think it is “important” to have a well-maintained yard, with 48 percent saying it is “very important.”

* 71 percent think it is important that their neighbors have well-maintained yards.

* 83 percent think it is important to have a yard.

* 90 percent prefer to live in a home surrounded by trees, grass and other living plants.

* 84 percent agree that the quality of a home’s landscape/yard would affect their decision about whether or not to buy it.

* 47 percent wish they could hire professional landscape help.

* 67 percent think professional landscape help would allow them to have a nicer yard.

* Only 33 percent who have a yard strongly agree that they have the knowledge and skills to keep their lawn and plants healthy and looking good.

“Our members dedicate their lives to helping homeowners keep their yards and outdoor spaces healthy and inviting,” said NALP CEO Sabeena Hickman, CAE, CMP. “The survey results show how deeply Americans value their yards and spending time outside near their homes.”

The survey results should also serve as a reminder of the important role that you — as someone who sells and services lawn and garden equipment — play in the lives of your fellow Americans, and in keeping our great nation looking beautiful.

OPE Editor Steve Noe


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